New project: Science communication about and with communicative artificial intelligence

Helena Bilandzic and Björn Schuller have been awarded a grant by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to research science communication about and with communicative artificial intelligence.

This project is dedicated to the role of communicative artificial intelligence (KKI) in science communication. This technology performs tasks in communication processes that were formerly perceived as genuinely human activities (e.g., ChatGPT). KKI has a dual role as a mediator/communicator about socio-scientific issues and as an object of science communication, for example in media coverage. The project aims to systematically investigate the potential of KKI for science communication in this dual role in an interdisciplinary collaboration between communication science and computer science.

In a conceptual phase, target variables for science communication via and with KKIs will first be determined. In a subsequent empirical phase, (1) discourse in traditional and social media will be analyzed with an interweaving of manual and automated methods, (2) the effect of media discourse on emotions and evaluations of the technology will be investigated in experimental designs, and (3) engagement (extent and quality of user interaction with KKI tools for science communication) will be explored in a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. Here, it is assumed that discourse, practices, and effects have an emotional component that is significant for perception and use. Finally, in a technical part, a requirements profile for a KKI tool for science communication is established and a KKI-based tool for direct communication between science and the public is developed. This will enable scientists to create easily understandable, target group-specific press releases and social media posts from publications. At the same time, the tool should also be able to be used by laypersons to engage with topics in science. The technical development will be accompanied by a formative evaluation.

The project is funded for three years by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). It takes place in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Monika Taddicken (Institute for Communication Science, TU Braunschweig) and Prof. Dr. Björn Schuller (Institute of Computer Science, University of Augsburg).